Experience the best of Slovenia in less than a week on this self-guided road trip. The adventure starts in the leafy capital, where you'll journey to the shores of Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. Continue driving to rocky passes of the Julian Alps and Goriška Brda wine region before heading to the medieval port of Piran. With castles, caves, and the Adriatic coast along the route, take in all the views and outdoor activities Slovenia has to offer, along with plenty of time to pull over for the perfect photo.

Highlights

  • Walk (or bike) around Slovenia's green capital stopping at boutiques and wine bars
  • Climb 99 steps to the church in Lake Bled's center and ring the bell for good luck
  • Swim and sunbathe in Bohinj—oft-considered the prettiest lake in Slovenia
  • Wander through Piran's Venetian streets and harbor along the Adriatic Sea

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ljubljana Ljubljana
Day 2 Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled Lake Bled
Day 3 Day Trip to Lake Bohinj Lake Bled
Day 4 Drive from Lake Bled to Bovec Bovec
Day 5 Drive from Bovec to Piran Piran
Day 6 Drive from Piran to Ljubljana, Depart  

Day 1: Arrive in Ljubljana

Ljubljana's romantic riverfront

Welcome to Slovenia! Upon arrival to Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport*, you'll pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel. Settle into your accommodation and meet them team over a welcome drink to discuss your trip details.

Afterward, explore the lively city center and saunter down the main street along the banks of the Ljubljanica river, stopping in whatever small boutique, outdoor cafe, or wine bar terrace strikes your fancy as you breathe in the fresh air of one of the continent's greenest cities. A classic European castle, parks, and churches are all on offer as you wind your way around by foot or bicycle.

You'll notice the legacy of modern architect Jože Plečnik around the city at worthwhile stops such as the National Library, Central Market, Triple Bridge, and Plečnik's own home turned museum, all under the watchful eyes of the city's many signature dragons. The Central Market is also a key site for sampling local cuisine at its many stalls.

*Alternate airports include Venice (144 miles / 231 km) and Zagreb (87 miles / 140 km).

Day 2: Drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled

The famously dreamy setting in Lake Bled

After breakfast in the capital, you'll drive to Lake Bled. This picture-postcard lake with its island is one of Slovenia's main attractions. You can choose between a plethora of shorter hikes through gorges or to scenic viewpoints. The craggy walkways and waterfalls of the popular Vintgar Gorge are just 2.5 miles (4 km) from town.

You can also climb up to the castle and tour its smithy, wine cellar, and printing press before enjoying a traditional meal in the restaurant, or row or paddleboard across the placid waters. Once you reach the fairytale island at the lake's center, climb up the church's 99 steps, where legend has it the ringing of the bell can grant your wishes. If that's still not enough, enjoy cycling on side roads through typical Slovenian countryside, visit a local beekeeper, or simply sunbathe on the lakeside with a slice of the famous Bled cream cake from the Park Hotel or Slascicarna Zima bakery.

Driving time: 45 minutes
Driving distance: 34 miles (55 km)

Day 3: Day Trip to Lake Bohinj

The lake's scenic surroundings

Nearby Lake Bohinj deserves time for exploration of its own, giving its neighboring lake some serious competition for the prettiest waterfront views. There are countless walks in the area for all ability levels; you choose the one that suits you best, or go vertical with rock climbing instead. Don't forget to pay a visit to the statue of the Zlatorog, or Golden Horn, a mythical stag believed to live in the mountains.

If you're feeling more aquatically inclined, you can also canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard on the smooth water before your return to Lake Bled. If you haven't visited Bled Castle yet, consider splurging on a royal dinner with a view at its restaurant.

Driving time: 2 hours (roundtrip) 
Driving distance: 34 miles (56 km)

Day 4: Drive from Lake Bled to Bovec

One of many scenic detours along the way

After breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and get back on the road. It's time to change locations and drive across Slovenia's highest pass, the Vršič Pass (5,285 feet / 1,611 m) in the central Julian Alps. Admire the nearby limestone walls as you make your way up the winding road with potential detours to several view-filled walks of varying lengths, including a stroll into the region's history on paths built by Russian prisoners of war.

After you've stretched your legs, have a coffee with a scenic mountain view and a typical alpine lunch in a cozy hut. In the afternoon, drive to the Soča Valley to explore its hidden spots, including WWI forts, river gorges, and mountain town of Bovec, where you can relax in a microbrewery when you settle in for the night.

Driving time: 2 hours
Driving distance: 54 miles (87 km)

Day 5: Drive from Bovec to Piran

Enjoy your last night of the trip in this seaside resort town

After breakfast in Bovec, you'll have the chance to discover more of the hidden spots of the Soča River as you drive south towards Slovenia's Goriška Brda wine country, eventually making your way to Piran on Slovenia's Adriatic coast. 

Dotted with family vineyard estates, petite churches, and cypress trees, the region earns its nickname of the 'Slovenian Tuscany.' Climb a village tower to enjoy the best view from the Slovenian Alps to the Adriatic Sea, bike through the hillside, or visit a winemaker or two (or four). 

In the afternoon, continue driving towards the coast and get lost among the picturesque narrow streets and squares of Piran. Sitting snugly seaside on its peninsula, Piran's old city walls, Venetian-style architecture, and stony beaches are filled with history and charm. Enjoy the evening on the Adriatic at one of Piran's many seafood restaurants before you retire, with a casual drink and fresh seafood snacks off the blackboard at Cantina Klet, family-size platters at Restaurant Neptune, or an elegant evening at Riva Piran.

Driving time: 2.5 hours
Driving distance: 107 miles (173 km)

Day 6: Drive from Piran to Ljubljana, Depart

Sneak in a bit more scenery before you go

It's time to say farewell to Slovenia! Enjoy your last moments in this beautiful country with a leisurely breakfast and nature stroll before you drive to Ljubljana for your return flight home.

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving distance: 80 miles (128 km)

*Alternate airports include Venice (119 miles / 192 km) and Zagreb (158 miles / 254 km).